The benefits a blog section can bring to a business – regardless of its size – are enormous. Informative and well-written articles can help to increase a website’s organic search ranking, which of course usually means more organic search traffic. Regular posting of high quality articles with authoritative, original and relevant content provides Google and other search engines with a good reason to visit your site more regularly. Blogging also enables you to connect and engage with your target audience, thereby developing strong relationships, establishing your business as a leader in its field and creating opportunities for content sharing via social media.
1) Blogging Helps Drive Traffic to Your Website
Think about all the different ways people find your website: They could simply enter your website address, but that’s an audience you already have. They know who you are and where you are, and that doesn’t help you get more traffic. You could pay for additional traffic by simply purchasing an email list, blasting a mail shot out to them and hoping some people actually open the emails and click through to your website. But that’s expensive, will quickly get you marked as a spammer.
You could pay for targeted traffic to your website by using pay-per-click advertising (PPC), which certainly isn’t illegal, but can also be quite expensive if you are not experienced at setting up and managing PPC campaigns. And the moment you run out of money, your traffic stops coming too. PPC advertising does have many benefits however. Results can be virtually instant, and it’s easy to calculate your ROI when advertising via PPC campaigns. If you do wish to go down the PPC route, simply get in touch and we’ll advise you on the best way forward.
So…what are the most effective free methods of driving traffic to a website in 2015? In short: blogging (regularly), social media and search engines. You need quality content – and lots of it. Think about how many static pages there are on your website. Probably not a lot. And think about how often you update those static pages. Probably not that often (How often can you really update your About Us page?).
Well, blogging helps solve both problems. Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more page that can be indexed on your website. It’s also another indicator to Google, Bing and other search engines that your website is active, regularly updated and that they should be crawling your website more frequently in order to see what new information you have published. Each new page that gets indexed is another opportunity for you to show up in search engines and get traffic coming to your website through organic search.
Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media channels. Every time you write a blog post, you’re effectively creating content that people can share on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus. This alone can help to drive huge volumes of quality, referred traffic to your website and helps establish your business as an authority in your chosen field.
Regularly updated blog content also helps keep your social media presence active and alive. Instead of asking your social media manager or another third party to come up with brand new, original content for your various social media profiles (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. There are several plugins for WordPress that allow you to auto-publish content from your blog directly to your Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus page, and if you require assistance setting this up (or you need help with any other aspect of your social media marketing campaign), please get in touch.
So, the first benefit of blogging is that it can help to drive new traffic to your website and informs search engines that your website is active and regularly updated. So what other business benefits does blogging bring?
2) It Helps Convert Traffic into Leads
Once you have traffic coming to your website via your blog, you have the opportunity to then convert that traffic into sales leads. Just as every blog post you write is another indexed page on your website, so each post is another opportunity to engage your target audience and generate new leads. And it’s actually quite straightforward to set up your blog post in such a way that it can generate those all-important sales leads – simply add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post, like we do at the bottom of this post.
These call-to-action sections or buttons are frequently things like free ebooks, free reports, free fact sheets, free webinars, free trials … basically, any useful information asset that a person would be willing to exchange their name and email address for. A call-to-action section can also be as simple as providing the contact information for your sales team, which is what we do on this blog. Call-to-action forms generally work like this:
- A visitor arrives at your website, either via an organic search, a pay-per-click campaign, a social network or via any other link;
- That visitor sees the call-to-action form with a free offer behind it;
- The visitor fills out the form, typically entering their name and email address; and
- Once the visitor submits their information, they receive an email link to download their free product.
(Note: Not every reader of your blog will become a lead — and that’s okay! No one converts 100% of the people that read their blog into leads. Just get blogging, put calls-to-action on every blog post, set a visitor-to-lead conversion rate benchmark for yourself, and strive to improve that each month.)
3) Blogging Helps Establish Authority
The most successful blogs with the widest readership all have one thing in common: they answer their audience’s questions and provide solutions to their problems. Nobody likes been spoken at, and if you continuously bombard your audience with sales pitch after sales pitch they will quickly stop reading your post. If, however, you consistently create good quality content that’s helpful for your target customer, it will go a long way to establishing you as an authority in your chosen niche. This is a particularly useful method of sales lead generation for sales and service professionals.
Can you imagine the impact of directing a confused customer to an educational blog post that provides the answer to their question? Or how many more deals a salesperson could close if their leads discovered engaging and informative blog content written by their salesperson? “Establishing authority” can be hard to quantify and is certainly not as measurable as traffic or sales leads, but in the right hands it can be a powerful tool to building an engaged audience.
4) Blog Posts Drive Long-Term, Organic Search Results
Just imagine for a moment that you sit down for an hour and write and publish a blog post today. Then imagine that blog post gets you 100 views and 10 useful sales leads. You then get another 50 views and five sales leads tomorrow as a few more people find it on social media websites and some of your subscribers visit the post via email or RSS links. But after a few days, most of the original publicity from that post dies down and you’ve gained a total of 150 views and 15 sales leads.
That blog post is now being indexed by search engines and will probably appear within their search results within a few days (although this can vary greatly). That means for days, weeks, months and years to come you could potentially continue to receive traffic and sales leads from that blog post. In fact, approximately 70% of our traffic each month comes from posts that were not published that month, and many of the most popular posts on established blogs were written years ago. Once they are out there and being indexed and crawled, each blog post has the potential to generate thousands of views and dozens and dozens of sales leads – without any additional input on your behalf.
As you can see, the benefits of blogging for business are vast and many, and it is worth taking the time to write quality, original and engaging content that can help to drive traffic to your website.
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